|Date of Release:||October 25, 1978|
|Body Count:||5 (plus 2 dogs)|
|Followed by:||Halloween II|
Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The plot tells about a mental patient who was committed to a sanitarium for murdering his babysitting teenage sister on Halloween night when he was six years old. Fifteen years later, he escapes and returns to his hometown, where he stalks a female babysitter and her friends, while under pursuit by his psychiatrist.
Filming took place in Southern California in May 1978, before premiering in October, where it grossed $70 million, becoming one of the most profitable independent films of all time. Primarily praised for Carpenter's direction and score, many critics credit the film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974).
Halloween spawned a film franchise comprising eleven films which helped construct an extensive backstory for its antagonist Michael Myers, sometimes narratively diverging entirely from previous installments. A remake was released in 2007, which was followed by a sequel in 2009. An eleventh installment, which serves as a direct sequel to the original film that retcons all previous sequels, was released in 2018. Two sequels to that installment, titled Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, are scheduled for release on October 15, 2021 and October 14, 2022, respectively. Additionally, a novelization, a video game and comic book series have been based on the film. In 2006, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
On Halloween night 1963, in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, six-year-old Michael Myers inexplicably stabs his teenage sister Judith to death with a kitchen knife. For the next fifteen years, he is incarcerated at Smith's Grove Sanitarium. On October 30, 1978, Michael's psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis, and his colleague, Marion Chambers, arrive at the sanitarium to escort Michael to court for a hearing; Loomis hopes the outcome of the hearing is that Michael will never be released from Smith’s Grove. However, Michael steals their car and escapes Smith's Grove, killing a mechanic for his coveralls on the way back to Haddonfield. Upon returning home, Michael steals a white and expressionless mask from a hardware store.
On Halloween, he sees high school student Laurie Strode drop off a key at the long-abandoned Myers house that her father is trying to sell. Laurie notices Michael stalking her throughout the day but her friends Annie Brackett and Lynda Van der Klok dismiss her concerns. Loomis arrives in Haddonfield in search of Michael and finds Judith's tombstone missing from the local cemetery. He meets with Annie's father, Sheriff Leigh Brackett, and they investigate Michael's house, where Loomis tells Brackett that Michael is pure evil. Brackett is doubtful of the danger but goes to patrol the streets, while Loomis waits at the house, expecting Michael to return. That night, Laurie babysits Tommy Doyle, while Annie babysits Lindsey Wallace across the street.
Michael follows them, spying on Annie and killing the Wallaces' dog. Tommy sees Michael from the windows and thinks he is the boogeyman, but Laurie does not believe him. Annie later takes Lindsey over to the Doyle house to spend the night so she can pick up her boyfriend Paul. When she gets into her car, Michael appears from the back seat, strangling her and slitting her throat. Soon after, Lynda and her boyfriend Bob Simms arrive at the Wallace house and find it empty. After having sex, Bob goes downstairs to get a beer, where Michael pins him to the wall with a kitchen knife. Michael then poses as Bob in a ghost costume and confronts Lynda, who teases him to no effect. Annoyed, she calls Laurie to find out what happened to Annie. Michael proceeds to strangle Lynda with the phone cord while Laurie listens on the other end, thinking it is a joke. Meanwhile, Loomis discovers the stolen car and begins searching the streets. Suspicious of the phone call, Laurie goes to the Wallace house across the street and finds her friends' bodies, as well as Judith's headstone, in the upstairs bedroom. She flees to the hallway in terror, where Michael suddenly appears in the dark and slashes her arm, causing her to fall over the stairway banister.
Injured, she narrowly escapes and runs back to the Doyle house, but lost the keys to the front door when she fell on the staircase. Tommy lets her in then she orders him and Lindsey to hide, only to find the phone is dead. Michael sneaks in through the window and attacks her again, but she incapacitates him by stabbing him in the neck with a knitting needle. Thinking he's dead, Laurie staggers upstairs to check on the kids, but is shocked to see Michael alive. She tells the kids to hide in the bathroom while Laurie hides in the bedroom closet, but Michael finds her and breaks in, so she stabs him in the eye with a coat hanger and in the chest with his own knife. She then tells Tommy and Lindsey to go down the street to a neighbor's house to call the police. After they leave, Michael awakens once again and slowly approaches an unsuspecting Laurie. Loomis sees the kids running from the house and goes to investigate, finding Michael and Laurie fighting upstairs; Laurie rips Michael's mask off, making him hesitate to put it back on. Loomis shoots Michael six times, knocking him off the balcony. Laurie asks Loomis if Michael was the "boogeyman," which Loomis confirms. Loomis walks to the balcony and looks down to see that Michael has vanished. Unsurprised, he stares off into the night as Laurie begins to sob. Michael's breathing is heard during a montage of locations where he had recently been, indicating he could be anywhere.